The Three Strikes Laws

TheThree Strikes Laws

TheThree Strikes Laws

Thethree strikes laws are statutes that are enacted by each stategovernment and mandate the state courts in the United States to giveharsh sentences on repeat offenders who have been convicted for atleast three criminal offenses. The law is designed to increase thesentence of convicted offenders and limit the possibility ofoffenders to be given other punishment other than imprisonment(Champion,Hartley &amp Rabe, 2012). Themain purpose of these laws is to ensure that offenders who areconvicted of serious felonies are eliminated from the society for areasonable period of time or for life (Clark, Austin &amp Henry,2000). The law has three parts including the ballot initiative, theactual statute, and three code section.

Thelaw has two types of problems that hinder its implementation andeffectiveness. First, the law suffers from technical and legalissues. For example, the power of judges to disregard prior strikeconvictions without making a specific request of any districtattorney may affect the process of administration of justice(Legislative Analyst’s Office, 2000). The law results in severeaccumulation of criminal histories that hinders the process ofimplementation (Legislative Analyst’s Office, 2000).

Althoughthe law has several challenges that hinders its implementation it hasbeen proven to be effective. For example, a study conducted inCalifornia has shown that the three strikes laws prevents seriouscrimes by an average of 1,000,000 in every five years and sparesapproximately 10,000 people from murder (Reynolds, 2014). The samestudy also indicated that the rate of crime has not been increasingin the same proportion to the rate of increase in population. Thisimplies that the three strikes laws are effective and should besupported in order to protect the society from habitual offenders.


Champion,D. Hartley, R. &amp Rabe, G. (2012). Criminalcourts: Structure, process, and issues (3rd ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Clark,J., Austin, J., &amp Henry, A. (2000). Threestrikes and you’re out: A review of state legislation.Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

LegislativeAnalyst’s Office (2000). The three strikes and you are out law.LegislativeAnalyst’s Office.Retrieved August 20, 2014, from

Reynolds,M. (2014). Three strikes you’re out. OfficialOnline Resource.Retrieved August 20, 2014, from